With the popularity of the hit Korean film Parasite, plenty of folks out there have taken an interest in other foreign shows with just as much drama and amazing acting.
If you want a slight change of pace and are willing to read subtitles, Korean dramas have some great plots that aren’t common in Western television.
Netflix has so many great Korean dramas to satisfy any viewer. With witty commentary, fabulous fashion, outrageous drama, and unique settings, these are some of the best Korean dramas on Netflix right now!
What are Korean Dramas?
Korean dramas, often referred to as K-dramas, have gained immense popularity worldwide, captivating audiences with their captivating storylines, charming characters, and stunning visuals.
Beyond the entertainment factor, K-dramas often delve into profound themes that resonate with viewers on a deeper level. Here are some of the most prevalent themes in Korean dramas:
Love and Relationships: Love is undoubtedly a central theme in K-dramas, exploring various aspects of romantic relationships, from first love and overcoming obstacles to navigating family pressures and societal expectations.
K-dramas often portray love as a powerful force that can overcome challenges and bring happiness, emphasizing the importance of communication, trust, and understanding in relationships.
Friendship and Family Bonds: Korean dramas place a strong emphasis on the significance of familial and platonic connections. They often showcase the power of friendship in providing support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging during difficult times.
Family bonds are also deeply ingrained in Korean culture, and K-dramas often portray the importance of honoring and respecting elders, cherishing family traditions, and finding strength in the midst of family conflicts.
Personal Growth and Overcoming Adversity: K-dramas often feature characters undergoing significant personal growth and transformation as they face various challenges and setbacks. They may confront personal insecurities, overcome traumatic experiences, or strive to achieve their dreams despite obstacles.
K-dramas often promote messages of resilience, perseverance, and self-discovery, encouraging viewers to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.
Social Issues and Cultural Exploration: Korean dramas are not just about love and relationships; they also delve into contemporary social issues and provide insights into Korean culture and traditions. They may address topics such as social inequality, discrimination, workplace harassment, mental health, and societal expectations.
Through these explorations, K-dramas can spark conversations, raise awareness, and promote positive social change.
Humor and Escapism: K-dramas are not afraid to inject humor and lighthearted moments into their storylines, providing a balance to the more serious themes. They often incorporate slapstick comedy, witty banter, and endearing character quirks that bring laughter and lightheartedness to the narrative.
This blend of humor and escapism allows viewers to connect with the characters on a more personal level and find moments of joy amidst the drama.
Fantasy and Supernatural Elements: Korean dramas often incorporate fantastical elements into their storylines, adding a touch of magic and mystery to the narrative. They may feature time travel, reincarnation, supernatural powers, or parallel universes, providing a unique blend of realism and fantasy that captivates viewers’ imaginations.
Historical Settings and Cultural Heritage: K-dramas also venture into historical settings, showcasing different eras of Korean history and culture.
They may depict the lives of royalty, political figures, and ordinary people during various historical periods, providing insights into Korean society, traditions, and cultural evolution.
These themes, along with the captivating storytelling, endearing characters, and stunning visuals, have contributed to the immense popularity of Korean dramas worldwide.
K-dramas continue to evolve, exploring new themes and pushing creative boundaries, making them a captivating form of entertainment that resonates with audiences across cultures.
10 Korean Dramas on Netflix
Three sisters, who only have each other and never enough money, get entangled in a conspiracy involving the rich and powerful. | Stream on Netflix
Moon Gang-tae and his younger brother with autism are frequently moving ever since their mother was murdered years ago. Ko Moon-young, a famous children’s book author, meets the two brothers and they form a bond that’ll help them heal their emotional wounds. (Stream on Netflix)
When a wealthy South Korean heiress has a paragliding accident and ends up in North Korean territory, she must team up with a North Korean soldier to hide her from authorities. She needs to find a way back home and he’s willing to help her out, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride. (Stream on Netflix)
- Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
- Jung Il-woo, Ahn Jae-Hyun, Park So-dam (Actors)
Rich boys are the bain of her existence as Ha-Won has had to struggle to make ends meet since she was young. Now she’s tasked with getting three cousins in check so they don’t tear at each other’s throats.
It seems like the perfect deal: a hefty allowance, a big bedroom, and paid college, but there’s one catch. She can’t fall in love with any of them. (Stream on Netflix)
A cold-hearted heiress hires an ambitious young lady to act as her double. In a corporate battlefield where winning is all that matters and money runs in the millions, these two women will have to examine their lives and accept the consequences of their actions.
When is winning not worth it? (Stream on Netflix)
He’s the adopted son of an Italian mafia boss with the looks and the skill needed for the job. When his father passes away and his brother threatens war, Vincenzo leaves Italy for his homeland to work as a lawyer.
Korean conglomerates seem to be just as ruthless as the Italian mafia. (Stream on Netflix)
Two strangers agree to become roommates and act like a couple to appease their nagging parents. However, when you spend time with someone every day and learn who they really are, a bond is bound to form.
They’ll have to face their feelings with each other before it’s too late. (Stream on Netflix)
Weol-Ju had the power to enter people’s dreams to see what was the cause of their suffering, but the royal family she served betrayed her and lead to her suicide. Due to her actions, Weol-Ju must use her powers to help people if she wishes to finally rest in peace and a boy with a strange power may be able to help her. (Stream on Netflix)
- Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
- Ku Hye-sun, Lee Min-ho, Kim Hyun-joong (Actors)
She was just out delivering dry-cleaning but ended up saving a rich boy’s life. As thanks for her heroic deed, this poor student is sent to study at one of the most prestigious schools in South Korea, but the popular crowd isn’t going to leave her alone.
What is she supposed to do when unwanted drama comes knocking at her door and an unexpected romance starts to blossom? (Stream on Netflix)
Five doctors specializing in different fields have been friends since med school and are called to work at the same hospital after years apart.
Their friendship is as strong as ever and so is their love for music as they agree to start a band on their days off. A simple feel-good drama, this series is all about how we may all grow into different people, but the bonds we made will never disappear. (Stream on Netflix)
Why are there so many Korean dramas on Netflix?
There are many reasons for the increasing popularity of Korean dramas on Netflix. Here are some of the most significant factors:
Rising Global Popularity of Korean Culture: The global popularity of Korean culture, popularly known as the “Korean Wave” or “Hallyu,” has significantly increased demand for Korean content, including dramas.
Factors like the success of K-pop groups, Korean films, and Korean cuisine have contributed to the overall appeal of Korean culture, making K-dramas an attractive option for viewers worldwide.
High Production Quality and Captivating Storytelling: K-dramas are known for their high production values, engaging storylines, and compelling characters.
They often feature intricate plotlines, emotional depth, and a balance of humor, drama, and romance, making them appealing to a wide range of viewers.
Strategic Partnerships and Content Investments: Netflix has made significant investments in acquiring and producing Korean dramas, recognizing their growing popularity and potential for international success.
The streaming giant has partnered with major Korean production companies, securing exclusive rights to popular K-dramas and investing in the creation of original K-drama content.
Accessibility and Convenience: Netflix’s global reach and user-friendly platform have made K-dramas accessible to a vast audience worldwide.
Viewers can easily browse and discover K-dramas in their preferred language, subtitles, and audio options, making them an attractive option for international viewers.
Diverse Range of Genres and Themes: K-dramas offer a diverse range of genres, from romantic comedies and historical dramas to thrillers and fantasy series, catering to a wide range of viewer preferences.
This diversity keeps the content fresh and appealing to different audiences, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.
Effective Marketing and Promotion: Netflix has employed effective marketing strategies to promote K-dramas, utilizing social media, targeted advertising, and collaborations with influencers to reach a wider audience.
The streaming giant also highlights K-dramas prominently on its platform, making them easily discoverable for potential viewers.
Word-of-Mouth Recommendation and Fan Engagement: K-dramas have gained popularity through word-of-mouth recommendations and a strong fan culture.
Viewers who enjoy K-dramas often share their recommendations with friends and family, expanding the audience and creating a sense of community among fans.
Adaptability to Different Cultures and Languages: K-dramas have shown remarkable adaptability to different cultures and languages, making them relatable and enjoyable for viewers worldwide.
Their storylines often touch upon universal themes of love, family, friendship, and overcoming challenges, resonating with audiences across diverse backgrounds.
Representation and Cultural Insights: K-dramas offer a glimpse into Korean culture, traditions, and societal norms, providing insights into a different way of life for international viewers.
They showcase Korean fashion, food, music, and language, fostering cultural understanding and appreciation.
Escape and Emotional Connection: K-dramas provide an escape from everyday life, immersing viewers in captivating storylines and allowing them to connect with characters on an emotional level.
They offer a sense of comfort, excitement, and emotional engagement, making them a popular choice for entertainment and relaxation.
Share these foreign gems with your friends if you enjoy any of these titles and if you recognize with drama features one of Parasite’s female leads, let us know in the comments!
Other posts that feature Asian actors or topics: